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Swansea Trading Standards to step up illegal knife sales prevention

Trading Standards in Swansea will continue test purchase operations in the city to stop the sale of knives to under 18s.

knife sales

Swansea Council's Trading Standards has previously carried out operations as part of the national knife crime campaign - 'Operation Sceptre' which involved using young people (under 18) to enter shops in the city to purchase knives.

In the UK, it is illegal to sell knives to anyone under 18 unless it is a folding knife under three inches long.

During 2018, a number of Swansea stores were caught selling knives to underage people.

Following completion of Operation Sceptre, Home Bargains pleaded guilty to the sale of knives illegally in Swansea in May and September 2018 and were ordered to pay out more than £22,000 in fines and costs.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said: "Our previous test purchasing exercises in 2018 highlighted the fact that some stores in the city did not have strong enough measures in place to prevent knives getting into the hands of young people.

"Fortunately, many of the stores we visited did the right thing and requested proof of age ID before making any sale.

"It's important that we continue this work and ensure shops big or small, are acting responsibly, ensuring no young people under the age of 18 can walk out of a shop with a knife that could potentially be used to commit crime."

The announcement that test purchasing will continue in Swansea follows the latest data provided by the National Trading Standards, who provided results from Operation Sceptre between April 2018  and March 2019.

Of 2,231 tests carried out by Trading Standards in England and Wales between April 2018 and March 2019, retailers failed to prevent the sale of a knife to a child on 344 separate occasions (15%). Poundland, Home Bargains, Asda and Tesco sold knives to children at least 15 times each during the tests. Some retailers have taken action since the tests began to introduce new steps to help prevent the sale of knives to children.

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: "Restricting the sale of knives to children is clearly a difficult issue for retailers, especially those with large numbers of outlets, staff and delivery partners, and I am aware that many retailers are working incredibly hard to train staff and introduce robust procedures to stem the flow of knives to children."

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